With so many outstanding restaurants in the Bay Area, it's tough for chefs to stand out. Some chefs like Steven Gotham of Bourbon Steak Santa Clara are doing incredible work in the kitchen of a major operation where the owner and the venue (the 49ers) get the marquee attention. Others like Jordan Keao of Aina and Isabel Caudillo of El Buen Comer are showing San Francisco diners a unique and profound taste of where they grew up. Together, these nine unheralded chefs are playing a key role in helping our local food scene continue as one of the most enriching anywhere in the world.
Jordan Keao at Aina
This contemporary Hawaiian eatery is the leading reason San Franciscans are dining in Dogpatch, and its chef has all the right boxes checked. Jordan eao has worked under a famous French chef, cooked at a tech company cafe, launched a weekend brunch pop-up and finally opened this daytime-only restaurant in an emerging neighborhood. Now that dinner service has started, it’s the dream fulfilled for a chef who knew what he wanted to be at 18. The passion is everywhere — from the kiawe wood imported from the Hawaiian Islands for smoking the pork ribs to the sugar-dusted malasadas oozing with guava jam. Diners can't help but feel the "aloha" spirit.
Signature dish: Lomi lomi arctic char with green onion soubise